Southwest Sets Its Sights on Washington Dulles

Southwest Airlines has requested two gates at Washington Dulles International Airport for new flights the carrier plans to start this fall. While two gates are not considered a huge operation, the move into the northern Virginia suburbs—and specifically into United's hub territory—is. Southwest already has a hub at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport near Baltimore, and when it entered that market several years back, it quickly resulted in fare reductions by then major BWI hub carrier US Airways. Southwest said the northern Virginia area near Washington Dulles includes three of the nation's fastest-growing counties, Loudoun, King George and Caroline and that such companies as MCI Inc., Oracle Corp., Orbital Sciences Corp., America Online Inc., and Nextel Communications Inc, call the area home. Southwest said it is not yet ready to announce how it will weave Dulles into its existing route network, but plans to announce those routes and low fares this summer. Southwest also said it intends to remain and "grow" at BWI, and that the new Dulles flights will be in addition to its Washington, D.C. area services.

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